Jobs announced yesterday that from June the iPhone will be able to receive push email, and that they will open the platform so third party developers can write apps to it.
These are two big steps forward, for Apple and the mobile internet generally.
They got one thing wrong though. Third party applications will only be available through a special Apple store and Apple will take a 30% revenue share. I assume this precludes apps being made available for free, which would really stimulate the market.
Ultimately we need mobile phones to be exactly like little PCs – fully open platforms with a choice of networks. We have made big strides in that direction, but Apple could have gone that little bit further yesterday.
In related news leading Valley VC firm Kleiner Perkins announced a new $100m fund for companies that develop iPhone applications. For me that is a brave move, unless Apple is going to relax its rev share requirement over time.
You’ll be able to get free iPhone apps from the iTunes store and Apple will not charge developer for making those available, so yes, they have allowed innovation to flourish. The drawback is that the store will be a bottleneck and there is no Long Tail crowd intelligence in the iTunes store to bubble up the best apps.